Please stop referring to the Tea Party as “grassroots” or “populist”.
The Tea Party exploits populist sentiments – to a degree – and is otherwise the plaything of very wealthy and powerful conservative men.
Writing like this piece by Patrick Johnson at the otherwise excellent CS Monitor is simply negligent:
But the tea party phenomenon teeters at a critical point in its rags-to-riches two-year history.
The Tea Party never had a “rags” moment in its history.